#SinatraStrong Keeps FSSA’s Performing Arts Alive

FSSA’s Wind Ensemble recently performed “Your Honor” by Henry Filmore on Zoom.

After careful deliberation, Mayor Bill de Blasio set forth on closing the nation’s largest public school system on March 15th, 2020. With that, more than 1,700 schools in the NYC area were subject to close as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Right after the matter, students and teachers transitioned into remote learning, where classes picked up right where they left off, only this time, online.

Sure, online learning can satisfy students’ academic requirements, but what about their artistic ones? Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA), one of the top Performing Arts high schools in NYC, is a second home to its 800 students. It’s a space where students feel comfortable, get creative, and express themselves through their art form.

That’s why FSSA administration launched #SinatraStrong as a way to showcase the artistic talents of this unique school community. By tagging the hashtag #SinatraStrong, students are encouraged to express themselves by sharing videos relating to their artistic major. Thanks to principal Gideon Frankel and Andre Vazquez, the production manager at FSSA, the phrase has created motivation, school spirit, a sense of unity, and has given a voice to students during this difficult time. 

“It is something that we created specifically to create a sense of community and celebrate student talent while we are out of school and can’t see each other,” says Mr. Frankel, FSSA principal.

The #SinatraStrong hashtag provides a way that students can be highlighted during their time in quarantine. While FSSA’s shows have been put on hold for the spring season, that doesn’t mean that Sinatra students shouldn’t be able to showcase their work and talent.

“Our performances and art showcases are what brings us together as a school community. Being able to see your friends’ art and performances is a special thing and students shouldn’t be deprived of that because of what’s going on outside,” Mr. Frankel said.

The hashtag serves as a reminder to Sinatra’s community that we are strong and distance doesn’t equal being alone. We are in this crisis together no matter how far away we may be from one another. 

So, how exactly does #SinatraStrong work?

Well, each week there will be a different studio showcase and students from that studio can send in videos or pictures of them at home showcasing their talent and artform; especially for those whose shows have been recently cancelled or postponed.

Fine Arts students were recently featured last Friday at 3pm. Their work can be found on the school’s website. This week, the drama studio will have the opportunity to share their monologues or scenes performed via Zoom. It’s inevitable that the Frank Sinatra community will be touched by the power and emotion they have put into their pieces and work.

The Dance studio will follow shortly after, as will the Vocal and Film studios. Every week students will have #SinatraStrong to look forward to make their quarantine days just a little bit better. It’s an admirable way to keep our spirits up and support our friends from the safety of our homes. 

All students have to do is follow this link https://forms.gle/AdcAB4g4GCE3aiGx5 to upload their video file by 5pm each Thursday. The videos will be edited together and posted as one final video at 3pm every Friday. 

Students and alumni can upload their videos at anytime to their own social media platforms and tag #SinatraStrong and @fssanews.

So if you have a surge of creativity that you want to share with your community, just click on the link above. As of right now, students don’t have access to spaces like the concert hall or black box at FSSA, so it’s up to the entire school community to keep the arts alive as much as possible.

Perhaps it will be something that FSSA holds onto beyond this crisis as a new way of promoting and showcasing its students in a creative and unique way. It would be a great addition to help celebrate and provide an outlet for the gifted and beloved students of the FSSA family. 

“We have such a special, talented and smart student body and school community. Our shared love of the arts is common among all of us and what brings us together. Our performances and community events are what creates our sense of togetherness. It is important that we find ways to continue that online until we can be together again,” Mr. Frankel said.

– by Johanna Paulino ’20 and Shreya Ambatti ’20